A nice package arrived today

On the front porch, and a day earlier than anticipated, was a box with two books inside. I found these online, on e-Bay, actually, in one of the more fruitful examples of late night insomnia. The prices were low and right and the end of the auctions were listed during the Super Bowl.

No one was paying attention to e-Bay. But I have a particular set of skills, and so I was paying attention to e-Bay and watching the game and silently wondering, for about the sixth year in a row, why we still get worked up about the commercials which were — not exactly pedestrian — but standard fare for the most part. Many commercials are well done these days, so you have to really stand out with celebrities, but they’re in spots all the time. Many commercials are good. And so even the good commercials debuted during the Super Bowl didn’t stand out too much, except for the ones that were obviously going to be controversial in some corner of the web. And that wretched Temu ad.

But I digress. I won both auctions. The nice lady who sold me the books offered to combine shipping and, today, they have arrived.

I opened the box, and inside were two large Ziploc bags. Inside each bag was a book. That book was wrapped in guerilla-resistance strength cling wrap. And, beneath, that a two layer roll of bubble wrap.

The woman who sold me these books really understands me.

Inside the first bubble wrapped, shrink wrapped, Ziploc bag was this.

That’s the 1912 Glomerata, the yearbook from my alma mater. This book is 102 years old, and the cover is showing that age. Even if it does need rebinding, the pages inside are basically perfect. The cover, particularly of the older books, is where the fun is.

Longtime readers know I collect the Glomeratas. It seemed like a good thing to get. They make a handsome bookcase. And it’s a unique thing to acquire. I know of two other people who dabbled in this. And, importantly, it is a finite thing. The first Glom was published in 1897. (I don’t have that one, so if you get a lead … ) and the last, latest one I’ll collect was the 2016 book. There are 120 in between. (One year they published two books.) I have 112 of them.

As I said, it’s a handsome bookcase.

The other book was the 1907 Glomerata. It has been rebound. It’s a generic black cover. No need to show you that, but what’s inside is also where the fun is.

I just spent a few minutes flipping through the 1907 book. The highest quality photos are the studio head shots and the posed group photos. There are a few candid action shots, but they are all small. It was a limitation of cameras 117 years ago. There are some cool drawings inside the older books. This one was on the page introducing the students who put the yearbook together.

That was done by a guy named F. Roy Duncan, a senior. His blurb in the yearbook says he learned to draw in an English class there, and I’m not sold on his proficiency as an artist, or as an English student. But he becomes a talented engineer and architect. Born in Columbus, Georgia, educated at Auburn. He worked in Pittsburgh, and then on the Panama Canal. It seems he stayed down there for about three years, contributing to electrical, mechanical and structural engineering projects. And then he returned to Columbus.

Some six years after that photo was taken at school, he became an architect. Among his achievements are more than a half-dozen homes still standing in various historical districts (here’s one), the Taylor County (Georgia) courthouse and parts of this Columbus church. They all survive him, as did his wife, and this art. He had a heart attack while fishing and died, at 61, in 1947.

And so we’re going to have to look at these books. And all of the rest of the collection, over time. Because I also recently picked up a nice desktop document camera. These were the first three photos I took with it, and I’m pleased. It’s a little slow and awkward as I figure out the workflow, but it seems much better than trying to take a photo on my phone, emailing it to myself and then editing thing. At the very least I’ve got out two steps in the process. And so, next week, I’ll open a book and point it at the camera.

I think I’ll probably start in the 1940s.

But first, I have to add these two covers to the Glomerata collection on the site.

(Four minutes elapse.)

There, now the 1907 and 1912 volumes have been added to my Gloms cover collection. I’ve just noticed four or five other covers which haven’t been digitized, but I’ll get to them soon. And, as of this writing, these are the only ones I need to add to the collection: 1899, 1900, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1916.

Beyond a certain point, as you can imagine, they are difficult to find.

I just wrote 800-plus words about things that are only of interest to me! Let’s show you some diving photos, which I know you’ve been waiting for, patiently, and get you in to your weekend.

There is absolutely positively nothing like just … hanging there in the water. It’s so captivating that I spend time on most dives just watching other people do it. Like my dive buddy!

This is a shot-from-the-hip of a woman that was on one of our dive boats with us. She just happened to float over, or I swam under, or whatever it was, and I looked up. I love these shots, and I include it here as a reminder to myself to take more of them, which can only be done by more diving.

Dive boat dynamics are interesting. Unless you go as a big unruly group you’re surrounded by strangers. These are two-tank dives, which means you go out, take the first dive, and then enjoy another, all without having to return to land. For safety reasons that have to do with the chemistry of your blood under the mild pressures involved with reef diving, you take a surface interval. So you wind up talking to people. And they’re often just fascinating. This dive had a bishop from Miami, a high powered business man from Denver, this woman, who is in pediatric medicine and, of course, us. Plus there’s the captain and the divemaster, who is an underwater welder doing this in his free time. That’s an awesome amount of brain power on one little vessel, and also me.

So you wind up having some interesting chats. Usually it’s about equipment, things you just saw, how your diving has been, something innocuous from back home. It’s small talk. And you’re all the best of friends.

Except now I can’t remember anyone’s names.

I don’t know if she got to see this turtle. Not everyone on that dive did. But that’s the breaks. Sometimes you see the high profile sea life, and other times you hear about it and appreciate what you were able to find. But we found this giant turtle.

That’s easily a three-foot shell. Easily.

OK, that’s enough for now. Enjoy your weekend! (We’re getting snow.)

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